Thread: Singapore Also Can
03-22-2010, 10:56 PM #1480
Funds to grow sports
The Straits Times
Mar 23, 2010
Singapore Olympic Foundation to raise funds for sports growth
By Jonathan Wong
THE support for sports in Singapore continues to grow even as the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) draws nearer.
Yesterday, the Singapore Olympic Foundation was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean along with the visiting International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge.
It hopes to raise $5-10 million in its first year, with some of the money going to support the Aug 14-26 Games.
The rest of the funds will be used to train local athletes for other major multi-sport events like the Olympics, Asian Games and future YOGs.
Ng Ser Miang, the chairman of the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (SYOGOC), said the excitement created by the upcoming YOG was the main catalyst for the Singapore National Olympic Council's (SNOC) decision to set up the foundation.
He said: 'The SNOC believes that it is time to set up a foundation that will coordinate the efforts of supporting young athletes who want to excel.'
(From left) Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, IOC president Jacques Rogge, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee chairman Ng Ser Miang at the launch of the Singapore Olympic Foundation last night. -- ST PHOTO: SAMUEL HE
03-22-2010, 11:02 PM #1481
RSAF centralises training
Mar 23, 2010
Move aims to foster closer camaraderie among personnel
By Amresh Gunasingham
A NEW centralised command has been created to streamline the basic training of all Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) soldiers.
As part of the new thrust, training programmes will incorporate more use of technology, while personnel of all ranks will for the first time go through some basic modules together in a bid to foster closer camaraderie.
New pilots, air traffic controllers and engineers will train together at a facility in Paya Lebar in courses that address both specific vocational needs as well as build core leadership skills.
This will give leaders an understanding of the various components of the air force and aid their acumen in the battlefield, said Dr Ng Eng Hen, Second Minister for Defence, yesterday, in explaining how the latest restructuring would meet the operational needs of an evolving third generation military.
Dr Ng, who is also Minister of Education, was speaking at a ceremony to mark the inauguration of the Air Force Training Command (AFTC) in Paya Lebar.
The latest changes, some of which started last July, come on the back of recent refinements to streamline the RSAF's command structure.
At the RSAF's new Air Force Training Command in Paya Lebar, soldiers are trained to identify different models of aircraft using a Virtual Reality Aircraft Recognition simulator, which projects them in 3-D images. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
03-22-2010, 11:10 PM #1482
'Park' to teach cyber safety
The Straits Times
Mar 23, 2010
By Chua Hian Hou
BY THE middle of next year, primary school pupils here will have a website to visit to be clued in on the dangers lurking online.
Modelled after the Road Safety Community Park in the East Coast which welcomes groups of students for road-safety lessons in a scaled-down road network, the Virtual Cyber Security Park will show today's increasingly wired children how their seemingly innocuous actions on the Web can come back to haunt them.
The online park will use 3-D technology to re-create scenarios young ones encounter while online, from creating social networking profiles to playing online games.
The cyber park, now being developed, is among government measures unveiled yesterday aimed at beefing up cyber security here.
Besides warning the young ones against falling prey to sexual predators, spammers and hackers, the Government will require Internet service providers here to be audited for responsiveness to cyber attacks; it will also take steps to protect its websites from hackers.
All these additions to Singapore's Infocomm Security Masterplan 2 were announced by Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew, who was at the second Information Security Seminar held at Suntec Convention Centre yesterday.
By the middle of next year, primary school pupils here will have a website to visit to be clued in on the dangers lurking online. -- ST PHOTO: STEVEN LEE CT
03-23-2010, 04:55 AM #1483
S'pore, Zhejiang sign pacts
The Straits Times
Mar 23, 2010
By Lin Yingxin
SINGAPORE companies and Zhejiang cities inked partnership agreements at the sixth Singapore-Zhejiang Economic and Trade Council (SZETC) meeting in Singapore on Tuesday.
The signing of agreements was witnessed by the co-chairmen of the Council, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and Transport, and Zhejiang Vice-Governor Gong Zheng. The meeting, which was attended by over 50 officials and companies from Zhejiang, was organised by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the Singapore secretariat for the SZETC.
Both sides will meet annually now instead of biennially, in view of the increased bilateral engagement and business interests. Bilateral trade between Singapore and Zhejiang amounted to US$1.99 billion (S$2.79 million) in 2009, while Singapore's exports to Zhejiang reached US$675 million, and imports hit US$1.32 billion.
At Tuesday's meeting, the Council discussed and agreed on the 2010/2011 workplan, which will focus on six key areas - trade and economic, environmental services, transport and logistics, infocomm technology, tourism and modern services.
The areas are in line with Zhejiang's long-term plan to upgrade its industries and promote the development of its services sector. The strong growth in Zhejiang bodes well for Singapore-based companies with complementary strengths in the services. The Council is also currently providing support for multi-sector collaboration projects that could potentially benefit other Singapore-based companies, including SMEs.
Said Mrs Lim: 'A private sector-driven economy, Zhejiang is quite unlike other Chinese provinces. Tapping on our respective strengths, the Council has identified specific areas that both sides can work together on over the next two years.'
The pacts signed were:
i) Joint-Venture Hangzhou-Singapore Eco-Park (HSEP) Investment Agreement between Singapore consortium CleanTech Partners (CTP), its Hangzhou partner Vanwarm Investment Holdings Group and Hangzhou Qianjiang Economic Development Area (HQEDA).
ii) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between JURONG International and Zhoushan Municipal Government
iii) MOU signing between International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the Ningbo Municipal Government to extend its cross-sectoral collaboration to 2012.
03-23-2010, 10:42 PM #1484
Couple sneak into IR site
The Straits Times
Mar 24, 2010
By Linus Lin
WHAT lengths would you go to for a spot in the latest season of the Amazing Race Asia?
More than 57 storeys and 200m above ground literally, for a couple who recorded their journey to the top of the yet-to-be-opened Marina Bay Sands (MBS) integrated resort.
The pair, a Caucasian man and an Asian woman, managed to enter the restricted Marina Bay Sands construction site, climbing a combination of stairs and ladders, then traversing several makeshift structures to reach the structure's summit - the SkyPark.
The footage of their mini-adventure - which was filmed for the audition of the Amazing Race Asia, the Asian edition of the popular reality television series - was posted last week on Stomp, Singapore Press Holdings' citizen journalism website.
Other than donning a white helmet and fluorescent vest each, the pair did not appear to have been using any safety equipment.
The couple, who are not named, are also captured standing precariously close to the edge of what appears to be the SkyPark at the end of the three-minute video.
A Caucasian man and an Asian woman, managed to enter the restricted Marina Bay Sands construction site, climbing a combination of stairs and ladders, then traversing several makeshift structures to reach the structure's summit - the SkyPark. -- PHOTO: STOMP
03-23-2010, 11:04 PM #1485
Swedish Armed Forces Supreme Commander calls on DPM Teo
23 March 2010 1529 hrs
SINGAPORE : The Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Sverker Goranson, called on Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday morning.
He also called on the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant-General Desmond Kuek.
The Defence Ministry said General Goranson is in Singapore from March 21 to 24 for an introductory visit.
It added that the visit underscores the close and long-standing defence ties between Singapore and Sweden.
The Swedish Armed Forces has provided strong support for the build up of the Singapore Armed Forces' submarine capabilities in Sweden.
Both armed forces also cooperate regularly on a broad range of activities, which include professional exchanges, visits, defence technology transfers and bilateral activities.
The ministry said these interactions help strengthen mutual understanding and ties among the personnel of the two armed forces.
03-24-2010, 03:05 AM #1486
"Concert in the Park" at the Botanic Gardens
In its "Arts for All" initiative, the National Arts Council (NAC) has been bringing the arts to various segments of the Singaporean community with the partnership of corporate sponsorships for many years.
One of the more popular and long-standing concerts is the NAC-ExxonMobil "Concert in the Park" series. This Sunday, 28 March, Adam, Adil & Friends will bring back happy memories with their "Hits of Yesteryears" at the Sembawang Park at 5 pm.
Sembawang Park is a bit far for me, so I normally wait for those concerts held nearer home at the Botanic Gardens. I have been to numerous concerts held in this beautiful natural setting for many years and each year, the crowd gets bigger, the concert and atmosphere get better.
Three Sundays ago I was there at the Palm Valley to witness a Japanese pianist playing classical music on the grand piano on that beautiful stage at Symphony Lake. The amplifier and sound system was very good such that the music could be heard clearly in the open valley.
Then the Serangoon Brass Band and a lady guest singer entertained us to Andrew Lloyd Webber's broadway musicals from the "Phantom of the Opera" and "Cats" with the singer rendering the ever popular song, "Memory" in distinct lyrics.
I like the free and easy atmosphere at the Palm Valley where a multitude of people of various races, young and old, children and tiny tots, with pet dogs in tow, could be seen relaxing on the spacious grounds with lots of activites around them. The adults gathered to chit-chat, drink and tucked in the delicious foods they brought along in their baskets. It was an open picnic for everybody. Children ran about happily playing with all sorts of things, including the very popular ball of various sizes and colours. Some were rolling down the slopes with their clothes on and enjoying every minute of it. It was some sort of competiton for them. A few adults and children managed to hit the shuttlecock in what is essentially a garden party environment. Laughter filled the air in competition with the music!
This is a fantastic place for integration of the locals and their foreign friends. It was a "colour-blind" gathering without discrimination and a fight for space. Palm Valley belongs to everybody. It is common space.
Last edited by Loh; 03-24-2010 at 03:10 AM.
03-24-2010, 03:33 AM #1487
Changi named World's Best Airport
24 March 2010 1337 hrs
SINGAPORE: Changi Airport has bounced back from third placing in 2009 to become the "World's Best Airport" this year in Skytrax World Airport survey.
In the annual survey of travellers worldwide last year, Changi was placed third, trailing behind Seoul's Incheon and Hong Kong. But this year, Changi overtook Incheon and Hong Kong to top the ranking. Changi also won the Skytrax award for Best Leisure Amenities.
This is the third Best Airport award Changi has received this year. Last month, the airport won the Top Worldwide Airport by Wanderlust and Best Airport in Asia Pacific by DestinAsian.
Changi has won the awards by Wanderlust and DestinAsian eight and five times respectively.
Since its opening in 1981, Changi Airport has won more than 340 airport awards.
Changi Airport Group's CEO, Mr Lee Seow Hiang, expressed appreciation to Changi Airport's many stakeholders for their support.
He said: "Changi's success would not be possible without the affirmation, encouragement and feedback that we have received from our stakeholders, including the millions of passengers and visitors we serve every year.
"This has motivated us to continue to improve and innovate. We are honoured to receive these awards and thank everyone for their vote of confidence."
Mr Lee added: "In an ever-competitive operating landscape, these awards are also a testament to the hard work and tireless efforts of all airport staff and partners in the Changi community to deliver the Changi Experience. I want to thank them too for their contributions."
Mr Edward Plaisted, chairman of Skytrax, said: "This is the largest ever Skytrax airport survey with 9.8 million travellers from over 100 nationalities taking part, and underlines the unrivalled, global coverage of this study.
"Taking pride of place in being named World's Best Airport for 2010 is Singapore Changi Airport.
"Changi has always been one of the world's best performing airports during the 10 years of the World Airport Survey, and I congratulate them on achieving this number one position in 2010.... in what was an extremely competitive survey environment".
World's top 10 rankings in the World Airport Awards for 2010:
2 Seoul Incheon
3 Hong Kong
5 Kuala Lumpur
Travellers walk past departure schedule board at the Changi Airport in Singapore.
03-24-2010, 10:12 PM #1488
IHT apology over article
The Straits Times
Mar 25, 2010
By Zakir Hussain
THE International Herald Tribune (IHT) has apologised to three Singapore leaders for an article which implied that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong got his job on account of his father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.
The newspaper yesterday published an apology to PM Lee, MM Lee and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who was prime minister from 1990 to 2004. The apology ran online and in its op-ed pages.
The publisher, editor and author of the article have also agreed to pay damages of $60,000 to PM Lee, and $50,000 each to SM Goh and MM Lee, as well as legal costs, said Senior Counsel Davinder Singh of Drew and Napier, who represented the leaders.
The libellous article was published online and in the paper on Feb 15 and Feb 16 this year.
Titled All In The Family, it was written by IHT op-ed page contributor Philip Bowring, a Hong Kong-based journalist and former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review.
He said that 'dynastic politics thrives across Asia', and that the list of countries with governments headed by the offspring or spouses of former leaders was striking. He cited, among others, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, India, Japan and Singapore, and noted that 'Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong is Lee Kuan Yew's son'.
03-24-2010, 10:25 PM #1489
Singapore offers best living environment for Asian expats: survey
24 March 2010 1503 hrs
By Mustafa Shafawi
SINGAPORE: Singapore continues to offer the best living environment for Asian expatriates. This is according to the latest Location Ratings for expatriate living conditions published by ECA International.
This is the 11th year in a row that Singapore has held pole position.
ECA International's Location Ratings system is used to assist international HR departments to establish expatriate allowances which compensate staff for the difficulties of adapting to living in their assignment location.
The ratings are based on an analysis of living standards for more than 400 locations globally. Factors such as climate, health services, housing and utilities, and infrastructure are taken into account.
Regional director (Asia) of ECA International, Lee Quane, said: "Singapore's high quality infrastructure and health facilities, combined with low health risks, air pollution, crime rates and a cosmopolitan population help make the city an easy place for Asian expats to live in."
The Japanese cities of Kobe, Yokohama and Tokyo, along with Hong Kong, are the other Asian locations that are ranked top 15.
03-24-2010, 10:28 PM #1490
New Yishun hospital to open first phase next Monday
25 March 2010 0957 hrs
SINGAPORE: The specialist outpatient clinics at the new Khoo Teck Puat Hospital open this Monday - and so that nearby residents can familiarise themselves with the place, the hospital is holding an open house on Sunday.
The clinics will open from 8am to 5.30pm on Mondays to Fridays, while some may also open on Saturdays later this year, said Alexandra Health, the health care cluster that will manage the new 550-bed hospital.
Services at the six-storey tower block include dental; ear, nose and throat; eye; general surgery; cardiology; geriatric and a diabetes centre, among others.
Also opening on Monday are day surgery, endoscopy, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, nutrition and dietetics, and rehabilition support services.
The rest of the hospital - including the Department of Acute Care and Emergency and the inpatient wards - will open from July. The Khoo Teck Puat Hospital is at 90, Yishun Central.
Meanwhile, the Alexandra Hospital site at Alexandra Road will be fully managed by Jurong Health Services from August. The change-over will not affect patient care and services, Alexandra Health assured the public.
03-24-2010, 10:38 PM #1491
IOC President Rogge gives S'pore glowing report on YOG work
24 March 2010 1906 hrs
By Patwant Singh
SINGAPORE : Singapore has earned a glowing report from International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge for the way it has been working on the Youth Olympic Games (YOG).
On his final day in Singapore on Wednesday, Mr Rogge called on Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The IOC chief said he is thankful to the Singapore government for the support it has given to the Games.
During his three-day visit, Mr Rogge also went to various venues associated with the Games.
One stop was Singapore's Intelligent Transport Systems Centre, where he got a better sense of the transport arrangements for the Games. More details on the arrangements will be revealed soon.
On the whole, the IOC is pleased with the progress made by Singapore.
Mr Rogge said: "The most defining characteristic is the association between elite sport, high level sport, and culture and education - something that for many reasons we are not able to do at traditional Olympic Games because at traditional Olympic Games, there is much more pressure on time, on training, on expectations, also on the athletes."
Turning to athletes, the IOC has signalled that it will be tough on doping. It will also not hesitate to act against those who cheat about their age, as this had happened in past youth events.
The Games are not as high-profiled as other major meets because of a lack of publicity here and abroad. Mr Rogge said that generally, youth events are not well covered. However, he believes the YOG will be an exception.
Mr Rogge also met the Chef-de-Missions from 200 of the 205 National Olympic Committees which are participating.
Generally, the countries are happy with what they saw.
Nicholas Green, Chef-de-Mission, Australian Youth Olympic Team, said: "The general questions are more about some of the minor logistical issues around - getting athletes to and fro, and their warm-up and storage of equipment, and things like that - so they are technical small issues."
Despite the general lack of publicity for the Games, the organisers are confident that demand for the tickets will be good. Some 400,000 tickets will go on sale and more details like tickets pricing will be made available next week.
Meanwhile, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan has said it will be a tremendous challenge preparing for the YOG, but he is confident that Singapore will be able to meet all expectations.
Speaking to Chef-de-Missions who are here for a seminar, Dr Balakrishnan said the YOG will not be the most expensive or largest Games in the world, but it will focus on young people.
He said the YOG is not only about sporting excellence, but also about inculcating the right values. That is why a significant amount of resources are devoted to the culture and education programme to raise awareness of global challenges and problems.
03-24-2010, 10:57 PM #1492
INHERITANCE DISPUTE: Court ruling on fatwa
The Straits Times
Mar 25, 2010
Court rules widow gets whole condo unit as joint owner; fatwa is expert opinion only
By K.C. Vijayan, Law Correspondent
SINGAPORE'S highest court has ruled that a fatwa - a religious opinion on Islamic law issued by Islamic authorities here - will not bind the court to take the same view.
At best, it is considered only as an expert opinion - like those given by accident reconstruction engineers or forensic scientists in court.
The Court of Appeal made the ruling when it dismissed a move by the administrators of the estate of Mr Obeidillah Salim Talib to declare that a half share of his apartment should be given to his estate for distribution to other beneficiaries like his nephews.
Under civil law, when a joint owner dies, the whole property goes to the surviving joint owner, regardless of his or her contribution to it.
The split is different under Muslim inheritance laws, which provide for half the property to be distributed to the dead owner's family members such as siblings and others.
The administrators of the estate went to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in March 2007 to apply a fatwa to that effect.
About the case
BUSINESSMAN Obeidillah Salim Talib died without leaving a will five years ago. The condominium unit in Farrer Road, of which he and his wife were joint owners, was left to his wife.
However, administrators of the late Mr Obeidillah's estate took the issue to court, claiming half the property belonged to the estate.
They applied to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) for a fatwa and challenged the widow's claim to the whole flat. The fatwa stated that in accordance with Muslim law, half the property should be shared among other beneficiaries, including the late tycoon's nephews.
Among other things, the lawyers for the administrators argued that joint tenancy is unknown to Muslim law and the court has power to distribute the property according to Muslim law.
But the Court of Appeal held that the property is subject to the Land Titles Act and the law cannot be modified to apply Muslim law to a property subject to the Act. [/
Under a joint tenancy, when a joint owner dies, the property goes to the other one, regardless of how much each had contributed.
The court also noted a fatwa on the Muis website which stated that if Muslim joint owners of a property failed to make any arrangements to deal with the property before one of them dies, then the surviving owner is entitled to only half of the property.
Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong said this is 'inconsistent' with the court's ruling. The death of a joint tenant means the surviving tenant will become the sole owner of the property, he said.
The court made it clear in this case that the general law took precedence over the fatwa, which has no binding effect on the court.
ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN
Last edited by Loh; 03-24-2010 at 11:03 PM.
03-25-2010, 09:50 PM #1493
Part of Gardens by the Bay to be re-created at S'pore Garden Festival
25 March 2010 1719 hrs
By Wang Eng Eng
SINGAPORE: Visitors to the Singapore Garden Festival will be able to catch a glimpse of Gardens by the Bay.
A 100-square metre exhibition of the gardens will be on display at the festival when it opens in July.
Some 400 individuals - both young and old chipped in to plant seedlings onto a huge centrepiece.
Titled 'The Man Who Planted Trees', it is inspired by a French tale of a lone shepherd who transformed a barren valley into a Garden of Eden.
Taking centre stage will be a five-metre tall piece with 130,000 plants.
Dr Wong Wei Har, director, Singapore Garden Festival, said: "It mirrors what we are doing in Singapore. If everyone of us take ownership and do our part in taking the garden city as our own, we can also recreate and keep the garden city going and perhaps even stronger.
“For every kid and every individual who is here, it will touch your lives because you will remember planting this man and when you come in July, you will see all the plants fully grown."
After the festival, the centrepiece will be located permanently at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Other than Gardens by the Bay, new exhibits this year include balcony garden displays and miniature gardens.
60 community groups will also be showcasing their gardens.
The Singapore Garden Festival will be held at Suntec City from July 15 to 22.
'The Man Who Planted Trees'
03-25-2010, 10:35 PM #1494
YOG theme song to be sung by stars from around the world
25 March 2010 1823 hrs
By Patwant Singh
SINGAPORE : The theme song of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), penned in Singapore, will be heard far and wide - by a global audience.
The song - "Everyone" - will be sung by five singers from all corners of the world.
The biggest name is American rapper and reggae fusion singer, Sean Kingston, famous for hits like "Beautiful Girls". He is thrilled to be part of the Games.
He said: "I am going to go back to America and promote the song and with all that I have got coming up, like I said, I have tours. I am doing award shows, I have reality shows, MTV, and so much stuff that I am doing. So this song will definitely be promoted, so my name to this song is helping it."
Leading Asia is Singapore's Tabitha Nauser, a second runner-up in the last Singapore Idol contest.
She said: "I love the song actually, if you were to ask any of the other singers, the first time you listen to it, it really gets stuck in your head - especially when you have to repeat certain lines over and over again when you are doing the music video."
The other singers are Steve Appleton representing Europe, Jody Williams for the African continent and Jessica Mauboy for Oceania.
The song is composed and produced by Singaporean Ken Lim, who many know as a longtime judge of Singapore Idol. He is pitching in to drive the Games.
Lim said: "YOG Singapore 2010 is going to be a very big event in Singapore. What is important is that I develop a song that reaches out to everyone, creates the anticipation, feel good about it and most importantly, feel positive about the Games."
The organisers are confident the song and music video, to be released by May, will hit the right notes.
Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports, said: "With the song, more people will take notice of Youth Olympic Games. We need that excitement and publicity, definitely, for Youth Olympic Games to be successful."
Please refer to the following link for the video version:
Last edited by Loh; 03-25-2010 at 10:42 PM.
03-25-2010, 10:46 PM #1495
Formula Drift race to be held at F1 Pit Building this year
25 March 2010 1808 hrs
By Patwant Singh
SINGAPORE : The Formula Drift race, back for a third year, hopes to make a bigger impact - both in Singapore and regionally.
The roar of engines and screeching tyres is expected to get everyone pumped up next month, from April 24-25.
And this time round, the action will drift to a new venue - the F1 Pit Building - instead of the Changi exhibition area.
This means more people can catch the action, which will be provided by the 45 drivers who have signed on for the event.
Last year, 35 drivers entertained a crowd of some 5,000 spectators.
Another first for Singapore this year is that it will kick start the inaugural Asian Drift series, with the other stops being Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
Marcus Lim, general manager, DriftPac, said: "One of the things that people can expect is being really close-up to the cars due to the layout and set-up of the F1 track. We are enabling the consumers or ticket holders to get really, really close to watch the action up front."
03-25-2010, 10:58 PM #1496
'Shares not held by church'
The Straits Times
Mar 26, 2010
Separate City Harvest-owned 'special-purpose investment holding company' holds stake
By Yen Feng & Melissa Sim
CITY Harvest Church (CHC) yesterday gave its first detailed comments about its $310 million stake in Suntec Singapore, two weeks after announcing that it had become a 'co-owner'.
The statement, in response to The Straits Times' queries, said its shares in the downtown commercial property were not held by the church itself, but by a separate 'special-purpose investment holding company' it wholly owned.
The CHC statement gave no details of the investment company, but said it had acquired 'an indirect minority stake' in the holding company of Suntec Convention Centre. CHC had previously described the stake as 'substantial' and 'significant'.
The church added in the statement that it would be uninvolved in Suntec's daily operations and that it did not have 'exclusive use of any areas'.
On the issue of taxation raised by the public who wanted to know whether CHC's rental income from Suntec would be taxed, the church said its investment holding company was not a charity, and so did not qualify for tax breaks or other concessions.
It described its investment as 'a prudent and considered decision' that was a hedge against rental costs; its management board thus believed that the venture would not subject the assets and resources of the 33,000-strong independent church, a charity, to unacceptable risk.
City Harvest Church described its investment as 'a prudent and considered decision' that was a hedge against rental costs and its management board believed it would not subject the church assets and resources to unacceptable risk. -- ST FILE PHOTO
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